Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Truth and Immediacy

Tuesday: 15 January, 2013–– 1st Week in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 2:5–12 / Mark 1:21b–28
Truth and Immediacy

Religion can be rendered seemingly irrelevant by two opposite approaches. One is to conceptualize issues so that religion is abstract and distant. The other is to sentimentalize religion so that it appears nothing more than a deeply personal emotive experience.

Two classic words which have been used to describe this are transcendent and immanent –– “far away” and “close at hand.”  In religion this has meant that God is either so big and distant that we cannot comprehend, or it means that “God is (in) everything” (which is pantheism).

This is one reason the Incarnation is so important in Christian Faith. In the Incarnation we have the transcendent God brought close to us, both safeguarding the truth and breaking down the errors of each extreme. This is what the writer to the Hebrews describes with various applications.  The One who is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.

This is why, when Jesus read the Scriptures in the synagogue, he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.  The scribes too easily made religion irrelevant by conceptualizing the issues so that everything seemed abstract and distant, formal and sterile. But Jesus did not simply, in turn, tell a little story to touch their emotions.  Being the very Word of God, Jesus proclaimed the Word with a conviction of both truth and immediacy. Religion becomes moral authority when it is so relevant that, out of conviction, we are willing even to suffer for it.

Christianity is Jesus Christ.

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